This, dear faceless blog readers, is my first original (non-follow-up comment) post. My first post here—to this year-old Weblog—and my first post to any blog, anywhere. You see, I’m what you could call a blog skeptic.
I hasten to add, I’m not a Luddite. I work online at a computer everyday, occasionally post to a message board and believe podcasting has promise. But, I confess, I don’t own a cell phone and will never, ever subscribe to cable TV (radio is my first love).
Likewise, blogging did not entice me. Ensconced in hoopla, it isn’t often accompanied by much substance or credibility. This from David Weidner of CBS MarketWatch recently struck a chord: “When someone creates editing software that keeps bloggers from spewing what you wouldn’t bother telling your dog, that, folks, is going to be a revolution.”
But at least the typically nonsubstantive, personal-diary-like revelations found on many blogs occasionally have a target audience. Well, sort of. (It’s often a small group comprised mostly of close friends and would-be stalkers.)
Conversely, The Tiger Beat was, in all candor, wanting for one—which was the reason for my prior reticence about posting here. You see, this blog—begun by a university public relations office—violated the first rule of PR: Know your target audience (more on this point in a future post). It had no discernable purpose aside from allowing us to proclaim, “We have a blog!”
But that was then.
I’m glad The Tiger Beat has found its . . . well, its beat. Loosely defined, it targets an RIT audience interested in going “behind the scenes” with University News Services to learn about:
• RIT stories that have made the news (see Paul’s “RIT in the news” posts).
• The “story behind the story”: Interesting tidbits about RIT stories that have made the news. Here’s a recent example.
• Media relations tips for faculty and others who deal with members of the news media.
Here’s where I come in. I’ve been asked to post advice on working with the media. These tips will be called (quite originally) “PR tips.”
First, though, a bit more about this blog—and blogs and blogging in general.
Though targeting an RIT audience, anyone in the world is welcome to check in and read our musings, of course (this is the blogosphere after all). Just keep this in mind: The words found here are what they are. In another time and place, they may have been depicted as:
Streams of consciousness.
My point: Nothing you read here has been vetted, peer reviewed . . . or checked for writing under the influence of illicit substances. Basically, it’s worth the price you’ve paid to read it.
That said, I don’t view blogs as inimical. On the contrary, I couldn’t be more ardently anti-big media and pro-free marketplace of ideas (that’s the essence of my master’s thesis, after all). And this forum—a Weblog—represents a form of grassroots, citizen journalism that I’m all for.
As for this blog, in particular, I will fervently challenge us—the members of University News Services—to keep it relevant and interesting, and to continuously strive to make it better. Settling for ‘good enough’ is not something I practice in any aspect of my life—and it sometimes demands a little ‘rocking the boat.’
In time, perhaps The Tiger Beat would’ve found a target audience without my prodding. Or, as likely, possibly some of my more blog-euphoric colleagues grew weary of my haranguing against its shortcoming—spurring us to better define its purpose. Either way, about this I have no doubt: This blog and University News Services as a whole are immeasurably richer for the diversity of opinion expressed.
So, even as I post here, I will remain a blog skeptic (consider this PR tip #1: Be wary of blogs). But, in keeping with the true spirit of blogging and bloggers everywhere, I will always be candid. In the words of Popeye, “I yam what I yam.” (I would’ve much rather quoted Fred Flintstone, but “Yabba Dabba Doo!” doesn’t befit this message.)
Next time: The difference between blogging and writing, and a few words about my credibility as a blogger offering PR tips.